A day of action by National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) partners is to target money service businesses (MSB) at risk of being used by criminals to launder money.

Officers from HMRC and City of London Police will visit every MSB in the City. These businesses have been identified as potentially at risk of being used for money laundering or terrorist financing.

Some 90 businesses will receive educational visits by the joint teams who will highlight the risks within the sector.

Graeme Biggar, NECC Director General said: “MSBs are an attractive target for organised crime groups; the trade in high volumes of cash and the ability to convert denominations, currencies or transfer money electronically are all useful to those seeking to launder money.

“Their involvement can be unwitting, complicit or as a result of negligence, and acts as an enabler for organised crime. Investigations have revealed MSBs laundering money for the full spectrum of criminals, ranging from street gangs to international organised crime groups.”

He added: “Money service businesses are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals looking to launder the proceeds of crime, and in some cases they are complicit in the criminality. This ability to ‘clean’ money is key for criminals and as such we fully support this joint operation by our partners to raise awareness among operators of money service businesses, and to identify and disrupt the crime that takes place through them.”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “Money Service Businesses must play their part in making money laundering more and more difficult for criminals by complying in full with their obligations under the money laundering regulations. We remain committed to helping MSBs who want to comply with the regulations whilst rigorously rooting out and tackling those who don’t.”